Doug Smith: Scoundrels leading fools

1 May

DOUG FOR FSP

Doug Smith is an opinion columnist, historian and Associate editor for Free State Patriot

May 1, 2019


 

“12 year olds should be nailed in a barrel and fed through the bung until they are 16, at which time the bung should be sealed. “

Mark Twain

16 year olds are morons.

That assessment is, I realize, overly generous. But I am fond of many 16 year olds. I sympathize with them for the number of times they say or do something incredibly stupid and cringe over it. I spent much of my 17th year of life cringing, justifiably. I still cringe over the memory of ignorant but certain pronouncements I made to girlfriends, buddies, teachers, and other adults in my life. I am still amazed that they let me drive a car. I was going to list some of the moronic things I did as a 16 year old, but I find that even decades later they make me want to curl up like a potato bug in embarrassment. Instead Ill invite you to recall some of the idiotic things you said and did at that age. Feel good about yourself? Yea, right.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Mark Twain

Mature adults smile at this quote, recognizing in it their own journey to maturity. Sadly, we live in a world containing far too many large children of 13 or 14, whose bodies have grown for a couple of decades. While the adults smile at their teenage angst, and certainty about everything, beginning with the premise that everything done by everything before us was wrong, or at the least, certainly inferior to what we, with our superior, well, something, would do when we were in charge. For many of us there comes that eureka moment, usually not during a bath, more often with the first pay check, or paying for a car repair, or perhaps some very loud sailor who doesn’t really care how badly you would enjoy 5 more minutes on your mattress. It is 0530, there is a lot to do, and you are going to do it, and you are decidedly not in Kansas. Welcome to the adult world.

But evidence suggests, as far back as 30 AD, there were those who learned the lessons of adulthood poorly, belatedly, and with difficulty.

Witness the prodigal son.

Entitled: “Give me what is mine” (Boy, none of it is yours. If your Dad decides to endow you with a living or a bag of coin, that is his choice to bless you. But you earned nothing by virtue of being born.

Profligate: That which he had not earned, he did not value, and set about spending his money with bartenders and hangers on, also happy to share in unearned value. He set nothing aside, provided no source of replacement income, and purchased nothing of value beyond today’s meat and wine and women. Like everyone who eats their seed corn, comes the time of planting and harvest, the foolishness becomes apparent. Everyone will share your wine, none will share your hunger.

Foolish: As witnessed by his wisdom, obtained by hardship, in the Eureka moment when he realizes “Even the guys who work for my Dad are better off than I am now, and I was his son. Maybe he’ll give me a job. “

Of course, we now understand, from medical science, that the forebrain, that part responsible for reasoning and logical thinking is still developing at 16. In fact, it is not fully developed until around 25. The body, hormones, muscles, and other parts of the brain are rapidly developing, enough that a 16 year old can simulate an adult in many ways. But of course, the part that makes sound judgements is still at around the same place that thinks bringing Mom a snake, or chasing a little girl with a bug, or cutting down Moms favorite tree with Dads favorite cross cut saw are all great ideas.

So what, you might ask, is your point? Any of us past the age of 30 can look back at our own foolish 16 year old self, and conclude, yes, it was a miracle that I survived. We must have guardian angels. So why, then, we might ask together, would liberal Democrats want to extend the franchise for voting to someone who we judge (Correctly!) is not old enough to responsibly buy and drink alcohol, enter into a contract, buy real estate, purchase a gun, enter the military, or, in most cases, marry without permission? We lowered the voting age to 18 in response to the Vietnam War, on the logic that if an 18 year old can go fight in the jungle, they ought to be able to vote for the leaders who send them. There is something to be said for that argument, but it is not axiomatic that it was correct. We have a class of 18 year olds about to vote for the first time who have lived in a country at war their entire lives. That will certainly color their thinking, and (another article,) it should give us pause as well, but it does not make 16-18 year olds any more mature and responsible than they ever were.

Who then, wants people known for making ill-advised decisions, still self-assured of their own superiority, because life has yet to kick them in the shins with the results of their dumb decisions, to be part of the decision making about who gets to lead the country? Well, if we apply a bit of basic logic, it is easy to see that would benefit people who want to enact half-baked ideas which any rational, mature adult, would reject out of hand. What party wants to spend more money that the GDP of the entire world? What party races to the microphone with promises of all they will give away, after 8 years of the worst jobs and economy performance in American history, assuming their friends in the Teachers Unions have successfully dumbed down a bunch of entitled children so that they never think to ask who will pay for all this stuff? (A too- generous Santa Claus at Christmas means beans and macaroni instead of steak and chops in January. A step on the road to adulthood is realizing that relationship.)

(Dad, can I hitch hike to Canada this summer? And while I’m at it, can I spend more money than you, me, and my kids, will manage to earn to give everyone I meet free game consoles, MP3 players, and lobster dinners? Uh, no, you may not. Tell you what, you can work all summer, see how much you can save, and spend that money any way you want. At which point giving away freebies will be less appealing, because why should you give the fruits of your hard work to your pals who spent their summer playing games and eating junk food? And you will suddenly find yourself in the Republican Party. Funny how that works.)

There are those who will give away their votes purely for the promise of all the free stuff politicians offer them. As I have often noted on these pages, Government owns nothing, produces nothing, has nothing, can give nothing that it does not take away from someone else. Marcus Tullius Cicero said it most eloquently:

“The evil was not in the bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease.”

Next up: Why Democrats should campaign and recruit candidates in Psychiatric Hospitals.

Short answer: They already buy into insane ideas.

 

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